Tuesday Tip: Activity Tracker Stress ⌚️
Wearable fitness trackers like Fitbit, Apple Watches, etc might not be doing as much good as you think they are. Whilst they undoubtably have benefits when it comes to encouraging more activity etc these watches can actually be making you more stressed, cause you anxiety and to overthink what matters and even cause you to gain weight.
Here’s why… (and what to do instead)
These trackers can cause you stress because:
• You become obsessed with numbers.
• You end up going for a walk to hit a certain step count, not to enjoy the walk.
• You feel great upon waking, but your
watch tells you your sleep score is poor so now you’re worried about what’s wrong?
• You’re making progress in real life (getting stronger, maybe losing fat, being more active etc), but the scores on the watch don’t reflect that.
You end up overthinking what matters:
• You’re focused on the outcome (uncontrollable) more than the process and consistency (controllable)
•You are focused on achieving certain targets on the watch which don’t actually relate to the goals you want to achieve
• You’re “gamifying” fitness and health so much that it becomes a means to an end in itself, rather than using the data to enhance your life.
They can even make you gain weight because:
• You eat back calories burned. I’ve discussed this in depth before but many studies have demonstrated that these trackers have error rates of 40-90% for energy expenditure.
• You’re letting your workouts be determined by the watch – working less intensely because the watch tells you to, or working at a supposed ‘fat burning’ zone (again something I’ve discussed before and something that doesn’t exist in the way we think it does). Therefore actually burning fewer calories. You may also prioritise certain workouts because of the data it provides when it may not actually be the best workout to be doing for your goals.
What to do instead:
# Measure progress using things such as the number of calories consumed, improvements in strength over time, body measurements, average hours of sleep (rather than a sleep score), etc.
# Use the devices as ONE piece of data to encourage consistency, not the be all and end all
# By all means use them to track steps/mileage but only to the point where it doesn’t cause added stress. No one needs to be marching around their bedroom at midnight to add an extra 200 steps to their goal of they’ve already walked 9,800 that day!
# Use the heart rate function – a decreasing resting heart rate is a great goal and measure of overall health.
If you enjoy using these trackers then that’s fab but just be aware that it can be a slippery slope from using data to depending on it .
Happy Tuesday 🤗